The true stars of Rodeo ride

Reports have been received that the 50th Mount Isa Rotary Rodeo will be attended by animal rights activists in August on the back of the positive announcement from the Queensland Premier confirming $50,000 for a feasibility study into expanding the Mount Isa Rotary Rodeo.

Rumours of the Animal Rights group visiting the 2008 Xstrata Mount Isa Rotary Rodeo were picked up even by Channel Seven’s SUNRISE morning program who invited their audience to write or text their thoughts on the sport of rodeo and views on cruelty to animals often incorrectly associated with the iconic Queensland event.

Mrs Joyce McCulloch, Mount Isa Rotary Rodeo General Manager said, “Beasts of rodeo are feared, though not loathed, loved but given due respect. They are the best in the business and treated like royalty. Whilst they’re right at home in the bull dust -any chance at greener pastures is relished. They are the legendary stock – the stars of the Isa Rodeo spectacle”.

The Mount Isa Rotary Rodeo traditionally attracts the very best stock in Australia. From throughout the country, with some as far away as Benalla, Victoria, stock contractors bring their prized rodeo animals – including bucking stock of the year as well as many runners-up and past bucking honourees.
“We’ve had many comments and threats of protestors in the past; however it should be known widely that we take the sport of rodeo and the treatment of the beasts used very seriously. We work willingly within the APRA Guidelines”, she added.

The Australian Professional Rodeo Association (APRA) and its members share the philosophy that animals should be treated humanely and with dignity. Rodeo stock is valued by all those associated with the sport, they are the lifeblood of rodeo and safeguarded in rodeo competition by the APRA’s strict animal welfare rules.
These rules were first introduced in 1951 which was well before there was any legislative need for them, and almost thirty years before Animal Liberation was even founded in Australia.

The rules have been modified and improved over the years, but not as a result of any external pressures but because they evolved with the development of rodeo itself, now the APRA’s Voluntary Code of Conduct for the Welfare of Rodeo Livestock is generally recognised as the most comprehensive animal welfare document for any performance animal activity in Australia.

With competitors at record numbers and representation from around the world confirmed, it is not always the competitors at rodeo events that attract the crowds. With the 50th Isa Rodeo only days away, it is the beasts of the arena that many come to see.

This year, the 2008 Xstrata Mount Isa Rotary Rodeo is celebrating its 50th staged event and the legends it has created and seen – the four legged legends that brought cowboys to their knees and created fear in the arena.

Names like ‘Chainsaw’ and ‘Blondie’ are known far beyond rodeo circles with the beasts having thrown their way to become infamous within the sport. Whilst neither beast remains a headline acts, their stories will create hope for visitors that a new and unstoppable legend will be discovered in 2008.

Chainsaw’s career spanned more than 10 years, a rough and tough animal bull only successfully ridden by nine cowboys. The Brahman bull won Australia’s Bull of the Year a world record eight times from 1987 to 1994 making him synonymous with rodeo and bull riding across Australia. Notorious for his ‘sideways jump’, all four feet would fly out to one side and turn back to the right – all at the same time. With each successful buck, Chainsaw would take a swipe at the failed cowboy and charge to the middle of the pit before doing a victory lap in front of the excited crowd. As a true showman of the ring, his popularity with crowds and competitors was reflected with a minute of silence after his death at the Port Macquarie Bull Riding competition. Chainsaw goes down as one of the greats in the rodeo world.

Blondie was a Carandotta horse and was the reigning feature horse for many years at the Isa Rodeo during the early 80s. The little mare with a big heart bucked off every cowboy that had the misfortune of riding her. She would follow each victory with a lap of honour before facing the applauding crowd for a moment of triumph and then bolt out the gates. With each failed ride her fame increased, until one year a cowboy rode her out. Whilst the cowboy rode well, it should be noted that this fearsome beast was heavily in foal at the time.

The 2008 Xstrata Mount Isa Rotary Rodeo management confirmed schedule of entertainment is as follows:

Saturday 26 July

Quamby Rodeo (163km NE from Mount Isa)
7pm – XXXX Rodeo Ball (Rodeo Forecourt)

Saturday 2 & Sunday 3 August

Cloncurry Merry Muster & Rotary Rodeo (120km E from Mount Isa)

Tuesday 5 August

6.30pm – Isa Hillside Twilight Markets (Frank Aston Hill)

Wednesday 6 August

6.30am – Zonta Bush Poets Breakfast (The Buffs Club)
7.30pm – The Bull Pit “Man Against Beast”(Kalkadoon Stadium)

Thursday 7 August

TBA – Cowboy & Cowgirls Golf Day (Mount Isa Golf Club)
10am – Mount Isa Chamber of Commerce Best Dressed Premises Presentation (Venue TBA)
7pm – Mailman Express (Buchanan Park Race Club)

Friday 8 August

9am – Rodeo & Time Events (Kalkadoon Stadium)
7pm – Mardi Gras Street Parade (George & Sutton St)
7.30pm – Fireworks – time subject to change (George & Sutton St)
8pm – The Bull Pit “Man Against Beast” (Kalkadoon Stadium)
8pm – Tommy Maxwell (Xstrata Entertainment Centre)
9pm – Dianna Corcoran & Kirsty Lee Akers (Xstrata Entertainment Centre)
10pm – Mental as Anything (Rodeo Forecourt)

Saturday 9 August

9am – Rodeo & Time Events (Kalkadoon Stadium)
All day – Bell & Moir Ute Muster (Xstrata Entertainment Centre)
10pm – Amber Lawrence & Aleyce Simmonds (Rodeo Forecourt)
11pm – Adam Brand (Rodeo Forecourt)

Sunday 10 August

8am – Buffs Recovery Breakfast (The Buffs Club)
9am – Rodeo & Time Events (Kalkadoon Stadium)
6.30pm – Chic Frontier (Rodeo Forecourt)
7pm – Cowboys & Cowgirls Night (Kalkadoon Stadium)

In addition to the above, the glamorous XXXX Angels will return in 2008 and will be providing entertainment at intervals across the 3-day rodeo carnival.

The largest rodeo event in the Southern Hemisphere, the 2008 Xstrata Mount Isa Rotary Rodeo will be held from Friday 8th to Sunday 10th August 2008. With this year brings the milestone 50th Rodeo. The event is preparing for what will be its biggest year ever.

For further information about the 2008 Xstrata Mount Isa Rotary Rodeo please contact the Media Unit at RODEO HQ on 07 47432706.

The Mount Isa Rotary Rodeo is benefiting from a Premier’s Development Grant of $50,000 under the Queensland Events Regional Development Program (QERDP), a State Government initiative designed to take unique and creative regional events to their full potential.

Since the program began in 2001, more than $10 million has been invested in over 500 regional events.